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VMware Workstation 8.0.3 and the troubles with Ubuntu 12.04

DO NOT UPGRADE to Ubuntu 12.04 (yet).

I've had nothing but trouble with this distribution for a week now. I was going to write a giant long post about all the time I've spent getting it to be stable but here's the bottom line: it's not (yet) ready for public consumption. I have been regularly building linux systems since 1994 and this release has been the most frustrating ever. I would not have an issue if this were 12.04 alpha or even beta and I went into it knowing that my systems would hard lock, but this is supposed to be the release candidate. Yuck.

It started with attaching an external monitor. Something that might seem so simple and common made the system freeze completely (I now hate compiz, unity, etc.). Turns out this has been a known problem for a few years, lurking in the compiz bugs. Then, after a few unexpected hard stops from my external display crashing the system, my encrypted home directory suddenly went lockdown and my key no longer worked. So I was locked out of my files with an unstable display.

Scream Auction
Sotheby's sells a 1895 prediction of the Ubuntu 12.04 user experience

I enjoy hacking into an encrypted directory as much as anyone (the silver lining to this story is that encryptfs-recover-private makes it a no-brainer) but this was not a week where I had the time to spare working just to get access to my files. I thought I was going to have a stable (e.g. secure) upgrade when I clicked "yes" to the update manager prompt…alas, upgrading/patching to the latest vendor "stable" release is not always a good idea.

Perhaps when I cool down I'll give more details on how I've removed all the unity gunk and returned myself to classic Gnome on Ubuntu 12.04 (and probably am now en route to switching to Mint), but in the meantime here is the trivial step I did, thanks to Weltall, to get the VMware Workstation 8.0.3 network interfaces to work with Ubuntu 12.04:

Since the Ubuntu wiki is so far out-of-date, note the warning from ArchLinux

VMware Workstation 8 and Player 4 only support kernels up to 3.0. Any later requires patching of the VMware modules.

Download vmware802fixlinux340.tar.gz from Weltall's blog

Then untar the file
$ tar -xvf vmware802fixlinux340.tar.gz

Edit the version check in the file patch-modules_3.4.0.sh so you can change the line "vmreqver=8.0.2" to "vmreqver=8.0.3"

Then run the patch
$ sudo ./patch-modules_3.4.0.sh


Updated to add: This has been tested also with Workstation 8.0.4; follow the same steps but use vmreqver=8.0.4. As noted in the comments below you may get the error "/usr/lib/vmware/modules/source/.patched found. You have already patched your sources." Delete the .patched file and then run the script again.

$ sudo rm /usr/lib/vmware/modules/source/.patched


Also updated to add:

A reliable fix for the dual screen crash is related to changing the driver for input devices using evdev (xserver-xorg-input-evdev) — the kernel event delivery mechanism that handles multiple keyboards and mice as separate input devices.

The new flawed version that ships with Ubuntu 12.04 is 1:2.7.0-0ubuntu1. Downgrading to version 1:2.6.99.901-1ubuntu3 from January 2012 is stable. The changelog shows only minor differences in the new version:

* Fix horizontal scroll direction (LP: #932439)
– Add 0005-fix-horiz-scrolling.patch from upstream
* Bump lintian standards version to 3.9.3

But clearly a fix in 1:2.6.99.901-1ubuntu3 went missing.

Posted in Security.


8 Responses

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  1. Noone says

    Thanks for the tip, it works.

  2. Patrick says

    Just an FYI. If anyone is upgrading from 8.0.2 to 8.0.3 and they get this error "/usr/lib/vmware/modules/source/.patched found. You have already patched your sources. Exiting," just simply go to that directory and delete the .patched file and try again. This worked for me.

  3. toni says

    Thank's @ Patrick for the very good tip.

  4. turducken says

    Hmm, I have already built 3 multimon vmware workstations using 12.04 x64 and have not had any issues (except for the patch for vmware). I am, though, less than impressed with unity and am going to be going back to gnome at some point.

    Cheers

  5. Davi Ottenheimer says

    @turducken the bug seems to be related to hardware/chipset; maybe you're on the lucky side of the equation. I try to buy from manufacturers who support open source and stay on top of LTS releases in order to reduce hardware compatibility risks. It just didn't work out this time because of a serious flaw and vulnerability.

  6. Davi Ottenheimer says

    @Patrick good point. Thanks for adding in that step.

  7. Chris Schooley says

    Thanks — this worked perfectly.

  8. fethi says

    thanks it's work for me



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